Contamination with storage fungi of human food from Cameroon.
In a mycological study, a total of 95 human food samples were investigated to evaluate the incidence of fungal contamination in Cameroon by conventional identification method and partly confirmed by DNA sequencing. The isolated fungal spp. were further studied to determine their toxigenic potentials. The investigation revealed the predominance of Aspergillus and Penicillium with 96% of samples contaminated with at least one species of these fungi, whereas the incidence of co-contamination of samples was 85%. Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus (Flavi section) were the most predominant species contaminating mainly maize and peanuts. In addition, P. crustosum and P. polonicum were the most common contaminants belonging to the genus Penicillium. On the other hand, A. ochraceus (Circumdati section) registered a low incidence rate of 5%, including other members of the Aspergillus group. Other members of the genera Rhizopus and Alternaria spp. were also registered in the study. A majority of fungal strains of A. ochraceus, A. parasiticus, P. crustosum and P. polonicum isolated were toxigenic, producing the mycotoxins tested for, while none was detected in cultures of A. fumigatus. The high incidence rate of fungi contamination coupled with their potentials in producing mycotoxins gives a strong indication that the samples tested may likely be contaminated with various mycotoxins. There is need for further study to assess the incidence of mycotoxins contamination in similar food samples.